The Speed of Connections

by Joanna on May 17, 2010

Waiting for post-move broadband to arrive like a digital saviour, I have been reflecting on the speed of connections.

With a sloooow connection I miss the speed of online connections: the chance to talk, chat, converse, discover, the easy ways to read and browse, to tweet and blog and tumble, to type, fast, in rapid-fire tweeting conversations, to smile and laugh and nod and wonder as I type, as I hear your voices while we’re typing, as my writing brain warms up with these interwoven words and stories, these words fast written, like playing scales on a piano, limbering up my fingers, firing neurons in my mind. I feel sluggish, disconnected, with a so so slow connection.

With a slow connection I find time to write. Other things, different things, deeper things, parts of a story I need to make time for, parts of my story I need to make room for, fragments of poems that keep on asking to be written and when the offline time comes, unbidden, so the words come knocking at the door, connecting up parts of my past, connecting up words in patterns and rhythms, making slow connections through the verse.

With a slow connection I go outside to work, to dig in the garden, to grapple with weeds, to clear some rough ground and feel the dirt on my hands, hear the birds singing loudly, feel the breath of the May day, run drenched from the rainshower, watch ferries on the river, notice bugs and beetles and centipedes and a robin waiting hungrily. I feel the pleasure of slow, slow connections to the soil, to the earth, tired, aching, grounded, mindful.

Waiting for a fast connection I’ve been reflecting on the speed of connections.

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05.17.10 at 11:23 am

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Karen Swim 05.17.10 at 12:44 pm

Joanna, as I read your post I was nodding my head but also realized that our lives are better when we vary the pace just as we do in writing. It’s so tempting to go at one speed (fast) all the time but like a great story, we need to insert those elements that give us an opportunity to breathe and digest what has taken place. Thanks for that reminder Joanna!
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Jan Scott Nelson 05.17.10 at 12:50 pm

Resonant as ever, Joanna! And now, to find ways of being able to have balance between these two states. To switch off the whizzy connection at will. Or better still (is this achievable?), to approach the whizziness with the spirit, the groundedness, the sheer, visceral, elemental connectedness of the slow connection.
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dirtywhitecandy 05.18.10 at 10:59 am

Lovely post. You’ve reminded me of why it’s good to have these unplugged periods. I always have a point in my day where I do something mechanical away from the keyboard and other input. It might be walking somewhere, running, hoovering.. It lets the ideas already in my head have a chance to stretch a bit and meet each other, the way they do in dreams.

Conor 05.18.10 at 11:06 am

Hey Joanna,

Reading this post was like breathing, slowly and deeply.

Nature is in no rush to create, why should we be? Her most dazzling shows are often destructive, but her mindfully carved delicacies are the ones that make us stop. Stop and breathe.

That’s what this post made me do :)


henya 05.18.10 at 12:28 pm

Finally!!!! Someone wrote about me. At my country house, fast connection is not something I will have for many years. But I like it this way. Of course I am free to write, garden, watch life go by (slowly) - and - If I need the fast stuff, I grab my laptop and run to town.
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Janice Cartier 05.18.10 at 3:56 pm

The speed of connections…some like lightening bolts others like rain gently falling…yes…I must think about this a bit.. but I love the images here…as necessary as that rain are those slow connections. And your rhythms in the writing.. perfectly paced.
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Joanna 05.26.10 at 6:43 am

Karen sometimes the things that arrive as frustrations teach us the most valuable lessons :-) I know I’m happier when I remember to vary not just pace but location, content, activity… it’s what helps me get into flow. And if I remember (so hard to remember our grand declarations!) it’s why ‘rhythm’ was my word of the year… Glad you found this a useful reminder Karen

Jan I think for me it needs to be switching off to slow down… but maybe that’s because I haven’t learned the skills yet… ;-)

Hi dirtywhitecandy… you’re right, those other activities can free up our minds as well as our bodies. I find digging in the garden a great way to think, dream, and plan and walking is great for drafting in my head. Even though that’s not a very mindful way to wallk ;-)

Wow Conor thank you so much for those words. Breathing is good. Learning from nature is even better :-)

henya there’s a lot to be said for that way of doing things - you plug in when you need to, rather than trying to find a way to unplug when you’re mind’s overdosed on information. Your country life sounds enviable to me!

Janice I am learning to let rhythm into my life and my writing :-)


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